Learn to TRAIN
LEARN TO TRAIN (SWIM SKILLS)
(Girls 8 to 11 years. Boys 9 to 12 years)
If you experienced it as a parent or saw it over several years through the swimming club, you will have a view on how boys and girls differ and the quite different growth spurts they go through, both physically and mentally.
Personally I’d teach boys separately from the girls ’til they are 15 or 16 – not achievable though.
Don’t you find you have a class splits down the middle where there are equal numbers of girls and boys? And how a boy on his own in a group of girls might not last long? If we’re going to address the problem of so few boys being attracted to or staying in the sport, then clubs should get their heads around the gender differences.
In our club this learn to train phase is at the top end of teaching groups, say grades 7 to 10 (here treating Mini Squad as a teaching level).
Whilst we promote on merit, skills and times being achieved, meeting the entry requirements for squads, if not training groups, we ought to be more conscious of the need to get competent girls out of teaching as they reach 11, while with boys we could run for another year.
Mini Squad at present has girls and boys 8-12 and splits into two distinct groups. To achieve our long-term goals to gain Swim21 Competitive Development Status we need more coming in age 8 (girls), age 9 (boys) so that they are ready to compete for in the age 9 category. This in turn means bringing them through teaching stages faster, but with not less efficiency. This can only be achieved is the more committed swimmers a) start younger – age 7 into the club; b) swim more often – twice a week initially and three times a week+ from age 8/9; c) talent spotting to fast track skills and stamina into skills groups at both pools.
At this stage young athletes show no fear but lack the skill level so accidents can occur. They are extremely active, but they still need to rest. As ligament growth is not yet complete they still cannot withstand too much stress.
They show short attention spans and enjoy repetition of fun activities They are eager to learn.
They are sensitive to criticism and need oodles of positive feedback. They are eager to please the coach and are prone to sneak on each other are cliquish & competitive!
THE KEY DRIVERS HERE FOR ME ARE:
Swimming drills are repetitive anyway, so try to make them fun with constant variety.
Use their eagerness to learn, a few minutes on the side of the pool every week and they can quickly pick up all kinds of valuable lessons.